As part of the annual Founder’s Day celebration on Monday, Nov. 16, William Smith College will welcome back three alumnae who exemplify the concept of “Women Moving Women Up.” Kendall Walton Farrell ’92, executive director of Bottomless Closet, will discuss her work with the non-profit organization that provides an array of career coaching services for women ranging from interview preparation to professional attire. She will be joined by Dr. Fay M. Butler ’84, senior director of enrollment management at LaGuardia Community College who is also a social media strategist, author and pastor. Moderating the discussion will be Chair of the HWS Board of Trustees Maureen Collins Zupan ’72, P’09, a financial planner.
“These women have dedicated their careers to improving the lives of others, leaving a lasting impact on the many people who are privileged to be the recipient of their guidance and leadership. They will serve as a great example for the William Smith community as they discuss their careers and reflect on how their William Smith experience impacted their life of leadership,” says William Smith Dean Catherine Gallouët.
The hour-long discussion will be held in the Vandervort Room at 7:30 p.m., and will be followed by a birthday celebration of the founding of the College by William Smith, nurseryman, and philanthropist. One of the College’s oldest traditions, Founder’s Day brings together students, alums, administrators and faculty members to celebrate the establishment of the College and the achievements of its students and graduates.
After leading an expansive career in the nonprofit sector, Farrell joined Bottomless Closet in 2007. Based in New York City, the organization works to reduce the barriers many women face in the search for employment as well as provide on-going support and education so women gain the tools to succeed in their professional lives. The tools and services include a selection of high quality interview attire, one-on-one resume review, and a broad workshop curriculum that promotes professional development, financial management and personal enrichment. The agency’s curriculum utilizes metrics and outcomes to monitor and track the impact of its services.
Under her leadership the organization has increased its budget to more than $1 million; enhanced the numbers of women served annually to 3,000; doubled personnel capacity along with more than 300 volunteers; and was awarded the Accredited Charity Seal status from the Better Business Bureau and Guide Star’s Gold Seal. Farrell has also stewarded corporate partnerships with BNY Mellon, Con Edison, Limited and TJ Maxx and secured Bottomless Closet’s largest grants from High Water Women and Goldman Sachs Gives.
Farrell earned a degree in sociology from William Smith. She holds certificates from the New School’s Tennenbaum Leadership Institute and Columbia Business School’s Institute for Nonprofit Management Program. In 2015, she was named one of the Future 50 from Smart CEO magazine and was honored by United Way as a “Woman of Excellence and Achievement.” An active alumna, she has participated in the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education’s Non-Profit day program.
Butler has spent the past 28 years working in higher education, 23 of which have been in various leadership and management positions within Student Affairs at the City University of New York. In addition to the guidance and mentorship she provides to her students, Butler is a pastor, chief social media strategist for Faith Based Groups, an author, and radio host. A noted “Master” Bible teacher and a ministry builder, she is the founder and president of Huldahs House Ministries, which includes several initiatives like “Top Of The Morning” inspirational show, the Healing and Deliverance Crusades, and The EMPOWERMENT ZONE Blog and Web TV show. She is also founder and president of Go Tell It Communications Consulting Social Media Strategy Firm for Churches and Ministries.
After earning her B.A. in political science from William Smith, Butler received two master’s degrees and a doctorate from Columbia University. She holds numerous accolades for her work, including having been named an evaluator for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education; a board member for All Saints Bible College; and an advisory board member of the Intervarsity Advocacy Council at Black Scholars and Professionals North East. A breast cancer survivor, Butler also shares her battles with the disease to provide inspiration to the community.
Zupan is owner and partner at Madison Financial Planning Group with more than 42 years of experience in the financial services industry. She specializes in fee-based financial planning for high net worth individuals. She is a fellow of the Life Management Institute, completing the exam series “with distinction” and holds the Chartered Life Underwriter designation. A trustee of the Colleges since 1994, she served as vice chair of the board for 14 years and, in 2012, became the first William Smith alumna to serve as board chair.
As an alumna, Zupan also served as one of the tri-chairs of Campaign for the Colleges, Hobart and William Smith’s largest and most successful campaign in its history which raised more than $200 million to support the endowment and capital projects. Her leadership was instrumental during the celebration of William Smith College’s Centennial when she served on the Centennial Steering and Fund Committees.
While at William Smith, she majored in mathematics, was named to Phi Beta Kappa, and graduated magna cum laude. In her local community, Zupan is an emeritus trustee of the Upstate University Foundation and a former member of the Foundation Board for SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
Throughout the week leading up to Founder’s Day, William Smith Congress has planned a full lineup of events to give the HWS community a chance to display their William Smith pride:
- Monday, Nov. 9: Students can make William Smith bows in Scandling Campus Center.
- Tuesday, Nov. 10: A display of remarkable William Smith young alums and current students will be setup in Scandling Campus Center.
- Wednesday, Nov. 11: Join the “Where’s Willie?” scavenger hunt across campus to win prizes.
- Thursday, Nov. 12: A William Smith photo booth will give students the opportunity to get their picture taken with William Smith in Scandling Campus Center.
- Friday, Nov. 13: Students are encouraged to show their William Smith pride by wearing William Smith gear.
Founder’s Day serves as an opportunity for the William Smith community to pay tribute to the College’s founder. Inspired by the suffragette movement in nearby Seneca Falls, Smith made the gift to establish William Smith College in 1906 with the intention to provide an educational opportunity that would allow women to live an “abundant life.” Founded adjacent to Hobart College, the first class included just 18 students.